It has been close to 5 years since OTT was introduced in India but it was not until the COVID-19 pandemic forced owners to shut theatres more than two years ago that OTT became popular. And now, recent trends have shown that the arrival of OTT in Tamil cinema has turned out to be more beneficial to the producers than the theatre business.
Gone are the times when the business of a film depended solely on box office returns. Satellite Television opened up a new avenue for films and satellite rights for movies were sold for huge amounts. And till a few years ago, theatrical business and television rights were the major sources of revenue for producers. The advent of OTT added one more.
However, according to industry insiders, the benefit of OTT is only to select films and not all. Only movies of big stars had OTT streaming rights sold at high prices.
After theatres closed during the pandemic, the Tamil industry released 12 movies on OTT as part of a test to judge the OTT market. These included films like Suriya’s Soorarai Pottru and the Karthik Subbaraj-produced Penguin starring Keerthy Suresh.
Over the past two years, OTT has evolved. Film rights of leading actors are sold at an unimaginable rate after theatrical release. According to sources, at least 50 to 60% of the budget of a Tamil film is recovered by streaming rights. According to the film industry, this is more than the revenue generated by Tamil Nadu theatres.
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